In its fourth report on working conditions in the Mexican electronics industry, the Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral (CEREAL), addresses the top-three of most problematic issues in this sector: low wages; phantom unions and lack of freedom of association; excessive use of temporary contracts.

In this report, the Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral (CEREAL) addresses the top-three of most pressing issues in the domain of labour rights in the electronic industry in Mexico:
  • Low wages,
  • Phantom unions, and lack of freedom of association
  • Excessive use of temporary work


The report provides in-depth analysis as well as cases implicating Nokia, Lenovo, Philips, Blackberry, Dell, Foxconn, Jabil, Celestica, and labour agencies Azanza and Manpower.

The report presents workers’ testimonies that help to understand the human drama behind labour insecurity and low wages. CEREAL gives an analysis of the root causes that produce –and reproduce- pointing at market dynamics and bad governmental and corporate policies. Finally, the report gives suggestions for possible solutions and formulates recommendations to both the Mexican government and concerned electronics companies. CEREAL outlines concrete measures that may prevent further deterioration of working and living conditions of Mexican electronics workers.


Some shocking figures in the report:


  • Smart phone produced in Mexico sell for 9,000 pesos average (675 USD). CEREAL has calculated that brand obtain 76.5%, about 7,000 pesos (525 USD) of this amount, while the workers who assemble the phones receive only 0.1%, or about 8.53 pesos (0.64 USD).
  • On average, an electronics worker earns 116 pesos a day (8.70 USD). This is barely enough to pay for just 60% of the basic food basket of a family of three members.
  • Generally speaking, electronics companies have unions. However, 90% of the workers at these companies are not aware of these unions, and do not know that they are registered as members.
  • The use of temporary workers in the electronics sector is excessive. reportedly, amounting to 90% of the labour force in one plant in particular.
  • Temporary contracts are getting shorter and shorter. The report describes cases of known companies that give workers seven-day contracts only. Frequently, Workers who work on such seven-day contracts may work stay  with the same company for months and even years, signing new contracts every week. This is a regular practice.